Individuals living with a diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy may seek out disability benefits if they can no longer work. Their likelihood of success depends upon that individual’s history of medical evidence as well as on how seriously their symptoms impact their daily lives.
Lumbar Radiculopathy and Disability Benefits
Radiculopathy describes a range of symptoms resulting from the narrowing or pinching of a nerve in the spinal column. Radiculopathy is given different names based on where the pinching of the nerve occurs on the spine. Lumbar radiculopathy refers to this set of symptoms occurring in the lower back. It is also commonly known as sciatica because it involves nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve.
Symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy may include sharp pain in the lower back that may worsen with certain activities. Radiculopathy may also cause weakness, numbness, or a loss of reflex in a person’s extremities. It shares common symptoms and may often present with other medical conditions affecting the lower back including spinal stenosis and spinal myelopathy.
Diagnosis often involves a physical exam and tests, imaging and possibly nerve conduction studies. Treatment protocols include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, and surgery in severe cases.
Is Radiculopathy a Disability?
Social Security’s Blue Book listing for lumbar radiculopathy falls under Section 1.00 for Musculoskeletal Disorders. And specifically under Section 1.15 for Disorders of the skeletal spine resulting in compromise of a nerve root.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will find an individual is disabled due to lumbar radiculopathy if their medical impairments meet the following criteria:
- Radicular symptoms resulting from compromise of the affected nerve root including pain, paresthesia (numbness) or muscle fatigue. One or more of these symptoms must be present.
- Radicular distribution of neurological signs present during a physical exam or on a diagnostic test confirming muscle weakness and signs of nerve root irritation, tension or compression due to the affected nerve root. Successful claimants must have evidence of these two symptoms at minimum, but other symptoms including sensory changes like decreased sensation or decreased deep tendon reflexes may also be present.
- Imaging results which show the nerve root in the cervical or lumbosacral spine is compromised.
Additionally, claimants must prove that their medical impairments have lasted or are expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. And, they must have a documented need in their medical records for an assistive device. Or medical evidence that one or both of their arms are affected which affects their ability to perform work independently.
Disability Lawyers in Greensboro, NC
This content was provided by Collins Price, PLLC. Our experienced disability lawyers in Greensboro, NC provide clients with professional legal representation at every stage of the disability process. If you are applying for or appealing a denied SSDI or SSI claim, contact our firm today. There is no obligation to hire our firm and no fee for a consultation.